Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: Healthcare from the heart of your community

Get involved with us

At Berkshire Healthcare, we are always looking for suggestions and ideas to improve our services. We believe that the best way to do this is to learn from you by listening to your views and experiences, and to families, carers and members of the public.

There are a number of ways you can get involved with us including:

  • Make a difference and become a volunteer
  • Completing questionnaires when we are working with you, or when you visit our services
  • Joining our '15 Steps Challenge'
  • Being involved in our ‘PLACE’ assessments
  • Taking part in local and national surveys
  • Linking up with organisations who provide a ‘local voice’, such as Healthwatch
  • Joining focus groups and forums

If you would like be take part in any of the experience and feedback projects above, please email us at


Become part of the team

Thank you for your interest in volunteering.

We value our volunteers and greatly appreciate the help you give.

We see our volunteers very much as part of a shared future. A future which is about providing the best possible patient care. One that combines the special talents of our paid staff, together with our volunteers, who, by working together form an outstanding team delivering our great care.

By joining our team your skills, time and energy will make a huge difference to us, our patients and our service users. It is also a great opportunity for you to make new friends and learn new skills or enhance existing ones. We hope you will find your time with us rewarding and enjoyable.

Volunteering opportunities

Our volunteers are very special people to us and we’d love to hear from you. We are always looking for new volunteers from all cultures to strengthen and enrich our dedicated team:

Our current opportunities are:

To apply for any of these roles please complete the application form and email or send it to the person recruiting for the role.

You can download this application form, complete it and email it back to us.

If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact the Voluntary Services office at


We might ask you to share your views with us as part our on-going patient survey programme. We use lots of different methods to collect your views. Depending on which service you have been in contact with, you could be asked to tell us what you think using a hand held electronic device, a kiosk, on paper or be asked some questions face-to-face.

We really value your feedback and the service managers review the results on at least a monthly basis. The results are collected from across the organisation quarterly and are included within our Patient Experience Report. We recognise the importance of letting you know what we have done about the feedback you have given us, and our future plan is to have ‘you said, we did’ display boards for you to see.

Alongside information we collect from you about your experience of our service, to ensure that we are treating everyone the same, we will ask you to let us know other information about you such as your age, religion, and sexuality. The feedback you give us is anonymous and helps us to check whether our services reach everyone in our local communities, and to shape our services for the future.

15 Steps Challenge

"I can tell what kind of care my daughter is going to get within 15 steps of walking on to a ward"
Quote from the parent that sparked the Challenge

We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure you and your friends, relatives and carers feel safe and confident with your care and the environment you are in. The 15 Steps Challenge involves an unannounced visit to a ward or clinical area by a small team led by one of our professional development nurses. Our non-executive directors take great interest in the programme and are often included in the team. We also try to include a member of the public.

The visit is based on a toolkit which provides a series of questions and prompts to guide the team through their first impressions of a ward or other care setting. The toolkit helps us to look at care through the eyes of people using the services and allows us to build a picture of what good quality care looks, sounds and feels like. The team consider how welcoming the area is, whether it appears caring, well organised and calm. Feedback is given to the person in charge of the area immediately after the visit.

This approach gives us a better understanding of how patients and people using our services feel about the care we provide and what gives them confidence. These visits have been welcomed by staff as an opportunity to show pride in their clinical area and to find out how they can improve your experience.

We have a rolling programme of visits to wards and other care settings across Berkshire. Our Patient Experience Report includes the results of the recent 15 Steps Challenge visits. If you are interested in participating in our 15 Steps Challenge please email We will be in touch when details of our next challenge are available.

PLACE Assessments

Every year we arrange for a Patient-Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE) for all of our wards with more than 10 beds. This is a national programme which, with the help of people who have used our services and Healthwatch, assesses the care environment on our wards. The assessment does not look at the clinical care provided, however it looks in detail at privacy, dignity, wellbeing, food, cleanliness and general maintenance in areas used by patients and the public.

We use the results of the assessments as one of the main information sources to monitor our wards and to ensure we always provide a high quality service to patients. Following the visits the results are sent to the NHS Information Centre and we also review the assessments ourselves to agree what actions should be taken to improve our ward environments.

Here are our results

National surveys

Every year the NHS carries out a national confidential survey programme, asking people who have used services about their experience. People who have used NHS services are chosen at random, and are sent a survey form to complete and return by post. Berkshire Healthcare is not involved in collecting and analysing the results but we are sent a report of the results which enables us to review where we should make changes to improve our services. Results are also published nationally on the Care Quality Commission website.

At the moment, people who have used our community mental health services are included in the survey. Forms are usually sent out between November and February. If you receive a survey questionnaire we would be very grateful if you could spare some time to complete and return it in the freepost envelope provided, as the confidential feedback you provide gives us invaluable information about where we can improve our services, and how we compare with other similar organisations.

The results of the most recent survey will be available later this year.


Healthwatch make sure that the overall views and experiences of people who use health and social care services are heard and taken seriously at a local and national level.

You can read more about Healthwatch here.